Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Waiting for Tomorrow

The past two days I've been busy painting.  I'm decorating the hall and landing.  I'm not sure how I'm going to tackle the high bits above the stairwell but I didn't want to get anyone in to do the work.  I did originally get a quote for the job but was told it would take a full week and I don't fancy having a strange man in my house for that long (is that just me being paranoid?).  So it's down to me to get on with it.

All the rooms in our house are very colourful with various shades of yellow being the most prevalent.  The hall was a bright daffodil yellow, I think the colour was actually called sunshine, but this time round, I'm going for a more subtle pale gold.  It's actually more of a buttermilk colour and so far it's going well.

In the evenings I've been working on my English paper piecing quilt.  Still loving this.  It seems to grow quite quickly without feeling rushed.

I love the randomness of it.  I'm using about forty different fabrics but they all seem to work well together.

Today is the last day of my "no knitting" month.  A very productive month it has been.  I've forgotten to mention that I've also made a dress this month.  It's amazing how many other things get done when knitting and crocheting are not on the agenda.  I think I'd like to have the occasional "no knitting" session in the future, but maybe a week at a time rather than a whole month.

So tomorrow I'm back knitting.  I'm so looking forward to it.  I'm pleased I've managed to stay so disciplined, especially after all the lovely yarn purchases at Yarndale.  I've written my "to do" list for tomorrow -
  1. Knitting.
  2. Knitting.
  3. Eating.
  4. Knitting.
  5. Sleeping.
  6. Knitting.
  7. Knitting.
That sounds good to me.  See you again soon.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Still Not Knitting

Well, September has been a long month.  My "no knitting"  month has certainly been enlightening.  I've had to adjust to finding new crafts to fill my evenings and I've enjoyed the challenge.

One thing I wanted to try this month was spinning with a drop spindle.  I have had a spindle and some wool waiting to be spun for years, but I've never got round to trying it.  I wasn't sure of the credentials of the spindle I already possessed, so I bought a beginner's spindle when I was at Yarndale.  The wool I have hasn't been carded and looks a bit like roadkill!

I thought that if I can work out how to spin this I'll be ready to tackle anything.  My first attempts were pitiful - the good bits are when Grace was having a go, my bits are the lumpy blobs.

So I re-read the instruction leaflet I'd been given and tried again.

And what do you know, something must have clicked into place and it all seemed to go much better.

So now instead of blobs of chunky wool, I'm managing something that could pass for 4 ply.  I still need to work on achieving consistent thickness, but I'm getting there.

What joy to learn a new skill.  I'll keep practising with this old stuff and then invest in something colourful to spin.  Who knows, I might one day be able to spin enough to make a pair of socks.  How about you?  Are any of you proficient spinners?

This month, I've also been working on my 54 squares embroidery project.  I have another three squares to share with you.

For the first one, the prompt was flower.  I didn't want to just embroider a basisc flower so I thought I would use some ribbon embroidery as an alternative.  So here is my ribbon rose.

The next topic was fish.  I thought about embroidering a colourful tropical fish, but then I remembered that my star sign is Pisces, so of course I should do this.

The third new square I've completed had the prompt sequins.  So a simple trail of floral sequins was what I came up with.

I'm so enjoying this project.  It's fun to pick each topic at random and the number of squares is growing quite quickly.

My English paper piecing quilt is also growing very nicely, I'll share some progress pictures of that tomorrow.

So plenty getting done, despite not knitting.  But Thursday can't come soon enough now.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

I'm in Heaven

Yarndale - what an amazing day we had.

This was my first visit but I'm already planning next year's trip.  It was heavenly.  All that yarn together in one place and lots and lots of lovely people who are excited to talk about knitting and crocheting and yarn.  Blissful.

And the Sun was shining on us as we had our picnic outside.

I received lots of lovely compliments on my Fair Isle cardigan (my Kate pattern) which was lovely.

I did break my no knitting rule whilst I was there - but you can't go to Yarndale and not knit!  I only did three rows and I've put it away again until next month.

I was too excited to take many photos when I was there, but I did snap the angora bunnies (unbelievably soft and fluffy) and the alpacas (not as fluffy but still gorgeous and soft).

And what was the damage?  Well, once the credit card bill comes in, I don't think I'll be allowed any where near yarn for at least a year!  I'll definitely be grounded.

Look at all this gorgeousness!  Who could resist?  Well, clearly not me.  Although Grace managed a similar mountain of yarn to me.  And then after photographing the above, I remembered I had another bag that I hadn't emptied yet!

I'm just waiting for October now so I can pick up the needles and get stuck in.  In the meantime, I'm enjoying just squidging and stroking all that yarny goodness.

Friday, 25 September 2015

One More Sleep

Grace and I are off to Yarndale this weekend.  So exciting.

I've made myself a couple of badges to wear - yellow, pink and sparkly, obviously.

Anyone else going?  Maybe I'll see you there.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

In Anticipation

Whilst I'm enjoying my "no knitting" month, enormously, giving plenty of other projects my undivided attention, I'm certainly looking forward to picking up the knitting needles again next week.

I have a significant number of projects on the wish list as well as the projects that were put to one side at the beginning of this month.

In anticipation of a renewal of knitting activity, I recently bought the latest Rowan magazine.

Sometimes Rowan can be a bit hit and miss with its patterns, but this time, I'm pleased to say, there are a good number of patterns that caught my eye.  Here are four that yelled "knit me".




Hayling - probably my favourite.

Plenty of possibilities there.  The only problem will be finding the time to make them all.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Still Not Knitting

We're well over half way through September and despite a rather shaky start, my no knitting month is going well.

I've settled into a nice routine now and whilst I'm looking forward to resuming my knitting and crocheting next month, I'm getting plenty of other work done.

I've dipped into the frog pond and three out of the four cardigans and sweaters have been frogged, ready to be reincarnated into something new.

I've written up one of the two cardigan knitting patterns that have been on my conscience.  I'll have to get on with the second one and then link them into this blog.

I've been working away on my family tree research and I've been writing up a report on one particular branch of the family to share with family members, which I should get finished this week.

I'm continuing with my embroidery squares and I've completed another two, which I'll share with you soon.

There are still some projects I haven't tackled yet.  I'll be dressmaking this week and I'd really like to find time to try spinning with a drop spindle.

But best of all, I'm loving my English paper piecing patchwork.  I've started work on a quilt.

I'm using hexies again - they are so pleasing to work with.  There's no particular pattern, just a random assortment of fabrics.  I think this gives it a wonderful homespun feel.

I'm learning through trial and error and I think I've got a nice little routine going, based on cutting, basting and joining.

The joining is definitely the best bit.  It's great to see the fabric growing and transforming as each hexi is added.

I've bought myself a powerful LED table lamp so I'm finding it much easier to sew in the evenings.

What joy such simple pleasures can bring.  I hope your day is also filled with joy and simple pleasures.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Piling Up the Squares

Lately I've been having fun working away on my embroidery squares.  I've stitched another three and I'm really enjoying this project.

The second topic out of the lucky dip jar was 'rainbow'.

I decided to use a blue background to represent the sky and embroidered the colours of the rainbow using a different stitch for each colour.

For the third square, the topic was 'yellow'.

Some yellow flowers for this one on yellow fabric (but I should have pressed the square before I photographed it).

Yesterday, I picked out the topic 'summer'.  I wasn't sure what to do for this one.  I thought about embroidering some seashells but decided in the end to make a mini cross stitch sampler.

Strawberries, butterflies and dainty flowers, I think this is a good combination to represent summer.

So that's a total of four squares completed, only fifty more to go!  But it's such a fun project, I think it will all be done in no time.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Mixed Success

Yesterday I had a pleasant day sewing.  I made a couple of bags; a work-in-progress bag and a smaller purse to store crafting notions.

I love the colours in this draw-string work-in-progress bag.  I'm very happy with it.  It incorporates the patchwork I made using paper piecing.  I made two pieces for both sides of the bag.

I loved making the patchwork.  It's a great alternative to knitting as an evening activity.  I've bought more fabric squares with the intention of making a start on a quilt.  I'm so glad I've tried this new craft.

I also made this zipped purse to hold scissors, pins and other notions.  I used this tutorial but made a shorter version.

This bag wasn't very successful.  The zip is wonky and the corners are untidy.

At least it's still functional, but I think I would be better avoiding zips, they're far too stressful.  I tried but I never felt fully committed to the project.

So mixed success with the sewing, but an enjoyable day all the same.  I've got more plans for sewing projects but I'll save them for another day.  I'm off to make a rhubarb crumble now and then we're off to the pub to watch the football.  Have a good weekend.